DBA Doctorate in Business Administration

Start date(s)

January 2022

Study mode

Part-time (4 years)

Tuition fees 21/22

Home (part-time, per year): £11,600

International (part-time, per year): £13,100

Write up fee (years 4-7): £4,400

Faculty of Business and Law:

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About this course

LJMU’s DBA provides senior executives and managers with the opportunity to achieve the highest academic degree while remaining in full-time employment.

  • Equivalent to a PhD, the DBA is ideal for those who would like a doctoral level qualification whilst remaining in their chosen professional career  
  • Focus on situational issues from your own workplace, whilst continuing your employment
  • Enhance not only your ability to develop new knowledge, but also the ability to apply that knowledge to a professional context
  • Gain the necessary skills to carry out rigorous research
  • Carry out individual projects that impact on your organisation and industry
  • Undertake your research amongst a carefully-selected, highly diverse group of professionals, drawn from a wide range of nationalities, industries, cultures and backgrounds
  • Develop your skills and meet your supervisors at a number of residential workshops in Liverpool 

Join a cohort of senior professionals and apply your research directly to the needs of your business, driving forward organisational progress without putting your learning or your business on hold. You will contribute to commercial and academic knowledge and, on graduation, will possess a specialist range of problem solving and decision making strategies that will take you to the next level of success.

The DBA at Liverpool Business School is unique in its design and structure and the level of support it provides to the candidates. It has been running successfully for 10 years.

The programme will be of particular benefit to experienced business professionals. A DBA will enhance professional capability and credibility, enable you to develop networks, and provide a firm foundation for further career development or a major career move. Employers benefit from supporting candidates for the DBA by attracting, developing and retaining key talent and building knowledge for competitive advantage.

Liverpool Business School is a member of the Executive DBA Council (EDBAC) and, as such, we believe in fostering excellence and innovation in executive doctoral degree programmes.

The DBA will enable you to develop a sound understanding of the relevant conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of your chosen are of research into business and management.  By learning research techniques for advanced academic and management enquiry you will be able to carry out your own original research. In becoming a reflective practitioner you will enhance your professional practice, as well as contribute to theory and practice in business and management. 

In contrast to a PhD, a DBA requires a contribution to both theory and practice. Candidates on the DBA are therefore required to demonstrate that they make an impact on the development of a profession and/or an organisation. 

This impact can be demonstrated within the organisation the candidate is employed in or in another organisation, including professional bodies or policy. This close link to industry and practice can be highly beneficial for the employer too, with many previous DBA research projects resulting in large financial savings for organisations that candidates implemented them in. 


As part of the course, you will benefit from the following:

Workshops (year 1 – 3 only)

  • 4 residential workshops each 5 days long at Liverpool Business School
  • Catering throughout the day
  • Accommodation for 4 nights including breakfast at the hotel for each workshop
  • Networking event during each workshop (includes catering)
  • Dinner at a local restaurant


  • Supervision throughout the duration of your doctoral studies by two qualified DBA supervisors

Other opportunities and events

  • Participation in the DBA Writing Retreats which are facilitated twice per year at Liverpool Business School including catering
  • Participation in the Doctoral Conference at Liverpool Business School including catering
  • Participation in research methods training offered by NARTI (Northern Advanced Research Training Initiative)
  • Participation in the monthly Action Learning Sets which are facilitated by an academic member of staff of LBS via Adobe Connect
  • Access to thousands of academic journals and books including e-books through the LJMU online library resources

You also have access to the doctoral facilities at LBS whenever you decide to come to Liverpool. 

AACSB International –The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business logoLiverpool Business School at Liverpool John Moores University is a member of AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. 

AACSB International is a global association of leaders in education and business dedicated to supporting and advancing quality business education worldwide. Through membership, accreditation, research, thought leadership, professional development, and advocacy, AACSB partners with over 1,500 organizations, from more than 90 countries globally. Membership or participation in the Global Education Alliance does not imply accreditation.

Fees and funding

Money - postgraduate funding informationIf you need advice about how to pay your tuition fees, please email LJMU’s Student Funding Team.

Tuition fees

All students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or in instalments.

LJMU Alumni Award

If you're a former Liverpool John Moores University student, you could be eligible for a 20% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees. The fee reduction will apply automatically to eligible students. You’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

If you are employed during the course of your DBA, you will probably undertake research which directly links to your employer's area of business. This will be of great benefit to you and your employer, particularly if you are focused on a large-scale project. 

Previous students have found that the research undertaken during their DBA has helped them gain valuable and objective feedback which has essentially provided their employers with high levels of focused, internal consultancy.

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The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

The design is based on two principles:

  1. Allow full-time professionals from all over the world to undertake doctoral studies part-time.
  2. Provide the full-time professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, tools and techniques to undertake high quality research on a doctoral level and contributing to their professional practice.

Based on these two principles we've designed the following structure:

Year 1

Two residential workshops (taught elements) each 5 days long will take place in Liverpool. These workshops focus on the planning process of the research, on refining the topic and basic research methods.

Year 2 and 3

One 5-day residential workshops, will take place in Liverpool. These workshops focus on the execution of the research, i.e. data collection and analysis, but also on a dissemination and impact strategy, as well as academic writing and viva preparation.

Year 4 

Our experience shows that DBA candidates typically take four years to complete their thesis, whereas the maximum duration of the programme is seven years. After year 3 no further residential workshops take place; this is a time for independent study, writing up your thesis, and examination.

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An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

During years 1 to 3 you will attend four residential workshops, each fours days long, at Liverpool Business School.

Teaching methods

You will learn through lectures, doctoral conferences, training programmes,  e-library resources and visiting business leaders from around the world.

Applied learning

The course will equip you with the necessary skills to carry out rigorous research, while providing the flexibility to carry out individual projects that impact your organisation and industry.


The supervision during doctoral studies is a key element of the experience. Our DBA candidates are supervised only by full-time academics employed at Liverpool Business School who are research active themselves and have a track record of publications and conference presentations.

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The supervisory team is usually made up of two supervisors. If the circumstances require it a third supervisor can be added to the team. All our supervisors attend regular supervisor training workshops and are familiar with the most recent developments in supervising professional doctorate candidates.

If a DBA is undertaken within an organisation, an industrial advisor can be added to the supervisory team to represent the interests from practice. This is usually a manager or senior professional who is already an expert in the field of research.  

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

There are various assessments throughout the programme.

During the first year students are required to submit the research proposal (approx. 5K words), learning agreement (approx. 3K words) and LJMU Ethical approval form. Year 2 and year 3 are for students to write their thesis (approx. 80K words), complete their reflective report and publish papers. The thesis can be submitted at the earliest after completion of year 3.

The assessment of the thesis takes place in form of an oral examination undertaken by two examiners, who are experts in your field. One examiner is from LJMU and one is external.&

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Matthew Tucker

Dr Matthew Tucker

Programme Leader 

Matt is responsible for the design, delivery and development of the DBA programme. Matthew's background is in service improvement; specialising in workplace and facilities management research, building information modelling, environmental sustainability, organisational behaviour, and workplace productivity.  Matthew has international experience and is the current Research Network Group Chair for EuroFM and has been a Visiting Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology. Matthew won the first ever RICS-Fulbright award 2012-13, enabling him to undertake a research project on customer performance measurement in the US. Matthew has published several papers in internationally recognised journals and completed his PhD developing a customer performance measurement system for facilities management. He regularly presents at internationally recognised conferences.

The DBA is an excellent opportunity for executives and professionals to develop their skills and to gain a doctoral qualification. I really enjoy seeing the candidates develop during their doctoral journey. It is very satisfying to see how their world view changes and how they become more critical reflective scholarly practitioners. I am very passionate about this and want to support them in the best possible way.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The School is based in the Redmonds Building, in the heart of the bustling Mount Pleasant Campus and Liverpool’s growing Knowledge Quarter. The building is home to high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms, social spaces, and a café. It is only a short walk from LJMU’s Aldham Robarts Library, which contains all the resources you will require for your studies, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Liverpool Business School also has a dedicated Management Development Suite, based in a listed building in the historic Georgian Quarter of Liverpool and a short walk from the Redmonds Building. The building has recently undergone £1.2 million investment to provide a professional learning space.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

A DBA, which is a doctoral level qualification, is a challenging, but also rewarding journey. In order to make sure you are suitable for the programme we have defined the following entry requirements for the programme:

  • A master's degree in the area of business and/or management
  • At least two years of managerial or five years of other working experience

In order to make an application to the programme you need to provide the following documents via the online application:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Master's certificate and transcript in the area of business and/or management – these must be official English translations
  • Evidence of at least two years of managerial or five years of other working experience – this can be e.g. a confirmation by your current employer or a reference letter from a former employer
  • An academic reference, which recommends you for the programme – this can be e.g. from your master's institution
  • An industry reference, which recommends you for the programme – this can be e.g. from your employer, from a client and/or professional body
  • Personal statement (max. 2,000 words) – this is not a full research proposal, but should address why you would like to do a DBA, why you think you are suitable for the programme and what you expect from the DBA. You should furthermore provide a brief outline of your research topic and its contribution to theory and practice, including:
        title of your research
      • introduction of your research
      • literature review of current studies
      • research methods
      • contribution of your research.

How your application is considered:

  1. The application is screened to ensure the candidate meets the entry requirements and has submitted all their supporting documents.
  2. If the candidate meets the minimum entry requirements and all documents have been received, the application is passed to the appropriate academics within the School for consideration and to identify a suitable supervisory team.
  3. The DBA Team and/or an appropriate academic member of staff will interview the applicant and make a decision following the interview. For applicants in the UK, they are invited to attend the interview in person at Liverpool Business School. For applicants based elsewhere, the interview will normally take place by telephone, Skype or Adobe Connect.
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The deadline for applications for the January 2022 intake is 30 November 2021. Should you have any queries regarding the entry criteria or documents required, please contact the Faculty Admissions Office at busadmiss​ions@ljmu.ac.uk​.

International Applications 

LJMU welcomes applications from international candidates. Most of the studying and learning will be undertaken via distance learning in your home country and there are only a small number of residential days in Liverpool required.

In addition to the outlined entry requirements for home applicants, you will be expected to demonstrate a good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.5 (with no single component below 6.0) or equivalent.

For UK visa requirements, please contact the UK Entry Clearance or contact LJMU's International Advice Team: internationaladvice@ljmu.ac.uk

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

  • When submitting your online application form, you must also provide the following documents:
  • Masters degree certificate
  • Transcript of Masters study
  • An academic reference
  • A reference from your current employer
  • A personal statement (1500-2000 words) to include:
  1. reasons why you want to study on the DBA course
  2. reasons why you are suitable for the course
  3. details of your previous research experience and a brief introduction to your research including the title, a literature review of current studies, research methods and the contribution made by your research

Should you have any queries regarding the entry criteria or documents required, please contact the Faculty Admissions Office.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

Important info about this course